Saturday, January 31, 2009

Does it make sense?

Yesterday the Great Unifier, President Obama, told Wall Street firms that "now is not the time for profits." When I heard that, I did a mental double-take. Where does he think paychecks come from? A magic money tree?
A profit allows companies to stay solvent, employ more workers and pay more taxes. This is basic stuff, Mr. President.
I remember learning in history class about a group of students in the late 1800's who thought the rich were evil, and should be forced to relinquish their wealth to the "poor." Of course, the poor never saw the money because the leaders horded it.
Class warfare in any country, any century only breeds more poverty. Neither the poor, nor the government, create jobs and prosperity.
Good luck getting Obama to pay your mortgage.
Lauren Ricks, Staff Writer

Friday, January 30, 2009

They're going to do what? ...

So the World Baseball Classic has announced it's got a brilliant idea to handle those extra, extra inning games. This, according to published reports:
" ... beginning with 13th inning, each half-inning will begin with runners on first and second base, with the batting order intact."
That's not baseball. I don't know what that is, but it's not baseball.
I've got a better idea. Why don't they just line up one player on third base, and then a player from the opposing team on first, and then let them simultaneously race to the plate. First one there wins it for his team. It makes just as much sense.
Now, I did hear one interesting suggestion on sports talk radio today: a home run derby. It would kind of be like a shootout in hockey. When you reach a certain inning in a tie, let them slug it out. Go 1-9 in the line-up, and the team with the most homers wins the game. At least it would be more exciting.
But artificially putting runners on base is just weird. You're actually going to have guys scoring runs that can't officially be accounted for in the score book.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

We have lost a sweet lady

We have lost a sweet lady with the death of Cleora D. Fleming, who was the longtime author of the Trinidad community newsletter in both the Athens Daily Review and The Malakoff News.
Mrs. Fleming loved Trinidad and Henderson County and was tireless in her efforts to make life better for others, time and again volunteering to serve on organizations and lead fund-raising campaigns.
She dearly loved her hometown of Trinidad and went out of her way to write the most complete community newsletter.
I will always remember her kindness and her smile that would light up any room she entered. Her visits to The Malakoff News office when I worked there remain favorite memories of mine.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is Sunday and it's a match-up nobody expected in December. I'll take the Steelers because of their defense but nothing in the NFL will surprise me anymore.
It's hard to belive it's been 40 years since the New York Jets shocked the Baltimore Colts(and the world) by winning the 1969 Super Bowl. Joe Namath told us it was going to happen and I thought it was possible that they could pull it off. What I didn't expect was the way the Jets won it. They methodically ground the NFL's finest into powder.
The 16-7 score is misleading-the upstart Jets dominated the game. It was the defining moment of Joe's career. His gimpy knees never allowed him to accomplish what he might have had he been healthy.
The losing coach in the game managed to overcome the loss and win a title of his own. Don Shula would soon jump to the Miami Dolphins and after stumbling against Dallas in 1972, coach the only perfect NFL season in 1973.
The Jets win changed perception of the AFL teams forever. They proved they could beat the old NFL's best, and do it when it counted most. The hully-gully image of the new league was changed by the Jets dominance in the trenches. Matt Snell rushed for more than 100 yards, and the Colts were held scoreless until late in the contest.
The next year Kansas City destroyed the Minnesotta Vikings 23-7 just to prove 69 was no fluke.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Too ... cold ... to ... go ... on

Holy cow it's cold this morning! As of about 9 a.m., it was still down to about 24 degrees. I'm told by one of our veteran reporters in the field (you may know her as Rhonda "Scoop" Garcia) that it was sleeting overnight, including 2 a.m. when it woke her up.
The cold weather is brutal, but nice. And maybe it means our annual February sprinkling of snow is coming, too.
Roads are pretty good. The worst report I'd heard this morning was that the bridges over Cedar Creek Lake between Seven Points and Gun Barrel City were pretty bad. Otherwise, everyone seems to be slowly getting around. Most schools open at 10 a.m. here, although I'm told most Navarro County schools (to our west) are closed all day. Lucky them.
Please, please, please be careful out there. Even though you think the roads aren't icy, they're still probably slick. And the loop overpasses here in Athens may still be dicey (and icy).
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Monday, January 26, 2009

Keep firefighters in your thoughts and prayers

Heard on the radio this morning about the firefighters killed during a training exercise in Kilgore. They apparently fell eight stories to their deaths. It was a horrible bit of news.
Later, I was speaking with a police officer about the tragedy, and he was recounting to me how brave firefighters are. It was just another event that makes you stop and think about being thankful for what firefighters -- and for that matter, police officers -- do. Rushing into burning houses with the ceiling falling in on their heads ... walking up to vehicles on routine traffic stops never knowing who may try to pull a gun or get crazy. I actually went through a police simulator once. The simulator requires you to use discretion when using a firearm. About three or four times, I shot someone who didn't have a weapon just because I was jumpy and worried about getting shot myself. Cops -- good ones -- know they don't have that option.
Both groups, consequently, are highly scrutinized and don't get many 'atta boys (or 'atta girls, ladies). That's just the way it goes, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Thanks for all you do.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Friday, January 23, 2009

You never know

Seventeen years ago, this week, I took my first job in Henderson County——at a little radio station on State Highway 31. I lived in Tyler at the time and thought it would be a temporary move until I landed another job in Smith County.
I guess that's the way a lot of us make our longtime choices. We come to a fork in the road and say "I think I'll walk this way for a while."
One of my favorite poems is the one by Robert Frost where he stopped in the woods for a moment to consider which of two divergent paths he would take. He took the one where the snow was deepest and the woods were the thickest.
The point is, Frost made a choice. It wouldn't have been near as good a poem if he had said, "It looks like a lot of folks have been going this way. At least if I slide off the road, someone will see me and pull me out of the ditch."
So that's what holds us back in life———fear of ditches.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overview of day two

Day two of U.S. President Obama's administration has revealed some disturbing, but predictable, policies. He signed executive orders to shut down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, cease all "Black Sites" and stopped intercepting phone calls from known foreign terrorists (known in pop culture as Wireless Wiretapping).
I say these policies are predictable because when he was campaigning, then Senator Obama said he would take these measures. I am of the opinion that they are both dangerous and negligent. Apparently, our newly inaugurated President does not understand that we are in a war. I wonder if he, and those of his mindset, think if we quit the terrorists will do likewise? If so, he is terribly mistaken and the result will not be pretty.
We did not fight the terrorists before September 11, 2001, except for putting a handful on trial. They used this time to execute at least four cowardly attacks on citizens, and plot the mother-of-all attacks. This is a dangerous road we are now traveling, both regarding our national security and our economy.
As Betty Davis famously said "Fasten your seat belts, its going to be a bumpy night!"
— Lauren Ricks, Staff Writer

A drive on 175

Highway 175 between Athens and Eustace has become a more pleasant and safer drive as the widening project continues near its completion. Shouldn't be much longer until its completely finished, which will then leave only the stretch from Eustace to Mabank (currently under construction) as the only one not four-laned between Athens and Dallas. I'm sure those who make the drive to and from the metroplex each day can't wait for that part of the project to be completed. I'm guessing it will shorten the drive time by a few minutes.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

And the Oscar goes to ...

Oscar nominations just came out this morning. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" leads the field with 13 nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for Brad Pitt.
I've always said Pitt isn't a great actor. He's eye candy. Just ask my wife. Or your wife. Or your mom or your sister.
But this is one movie I'd like to see. A lot of the other nominated movies also seem pretty interesting, including "Frost/Nixon" and "Slumdog Millionaire." There's another movie, "Milk," that's intriguing, as well. Sean Penn, I think, was nominated for Best Actor from that one. He's annoying, but not bad.
Has anyone seen any of these movies? Any recommendations?
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Disturbing ... FYI

Just saw this on Yahoo! News. I wondered if it was the worm that infected and killed my last laptop. It wasn't. Read carefully, friends. It seems the best thing you can do is run Windows Update (because there's now a patch).

"Judging from the complaints and questions filling my inbox, Windows security looks like it's already on track for its worst year this decade. The latest attack is a worm called Downandup, Downadup, Kido!, or Conficker (all the same thing), and it primarily seems to be being delivered via infected USB drives.

How's it work? By tricking you into running the virus by modifying the way "autorun" works when you plug in a drive. Look closely at the screenshot above and you'll see two entries for "Open folder to view files." The one at the top is a phony entry that actually installs the virus on your machine... but of course it's the default selection that pops up when you plug in a drive. Once installed, the virus spreads like crazy via a separate flaw in Windows networking system (now patched, so be sure to run Windows Update if you haven't lately) and can quickly infect a whole office. F-Secure has more analysis on the clever way it tricks you into installing the malware yourself.

How bad has it gotten? Estimates range from 3.5 million infected in the first four days after it bean spreading to 9 million impacted... and gettng worse. By now I figure the numbers could top 15 or 20 million.

From an antivirus standpoint, fixing Downandup isn't easy. The worm is particularly problematic because of the tricky way it involves the user in installing the software, bypassing auto-installation safeguards, plus its sophisticated way of avoiding detection, as it morphs its code constantly (using randomized elements) to make traditional, signature-based detection almost impossible.

Your best strategy for avoiding Downandup? Turn off AutoPlay/AutoRun on your computer (with Windows XP, TweakUI is the easiest way to do it). If you do see an AutoPlay dialog box like the one above, just close it and eject the disc or thumbdrive; browsing the drive manually for individual files should keep you uninfected, but you're best off not using the drive at all. And of course, make sure your system is fully patched via Windows Update.

What if you already have Downandup infecting your machine? Try your standard antivirus utility as a fix. If that doesn't work, F-Secure has a removal tool that should get rid of it. Good luck out there."

-- Jayson Larson, editor
PS -- All of the material inside the quotation marks was lifted from the Yahoo! News article.

That's my family...well, kind of

Growing up I had three comedic heroes: Lucille Ball, John Ritter and Carol Burnett. If I remember correctly I discovered them in that order. As long as I can remember I have watched, read and collected anything I could that dealt with Lucille Ball. Carol Burnett also looked up to Lucille Ball, and actually became good friends with her. So much so that Lucille (as she liked to be called) would send Carol flowers on her birthday. Lucille died on Carol's birthday and there is a story that Carol tells about receiving the flowers from Lucy on that day as always. She must have ordered them the day or two before. Kind of odd, but I like knowing that they were friends.
Now to why I have the clip of one of the Mama's Family sketches from The Carol Burnett Show. My Mom and I used to watch the Carol Burnett Show together everyweek in re-runs and everytime a Mama skit — as we in the know call them — came on we would die laughing and my Mom would say "That is just like my family." When I was talking to News Editor Rich Flowers about the skits he said the same thing.
That to me is the true sign of humor. Some people can watch a Mama skit and think that is so sad they don't communicate, they fight a lot, and Mama is so mean. However, if bet if you asked the characters if they loved each other they would say they do. Plus, in this particular example who has not had this experience when playing Monopoly. I mean seriously the game lasts an entire day and when you are losing it is the most depressing game ever.
— Angela Weatherford, Associate Editor

Cell phone ban

In tomorrow's edition of the Athens Review, we've included a story about the town of Southlake (as in Southlake Carroll, home of the team that seems to win state championships every other year). In Southlake, drivers aren't allowed to use cell phones while they are traveling in school zones.
Not a bad idea.
I don't see what that can hurt. Drivers will still be allowed to use hands-free devices, and a little inconvenience to make areas where schools are safer is OK by me.
Now, a councilmember in Southlake also said the city might consider banning the use of cell phones in vehicles altogether. Whoa there, partner. Let's not get crazy. That seems tantamount to banning radios in vehicles. Both can cause wrecks, but they're not inherently dangerous devices.
Only the operators who carelessly use them are.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

From the mouths of kids...

So after watching the inauguration all day at work I left to go pick up my kiddos from school. I started off the conversation the same as I do every day when I pick my kids up from school, so how was your day? Payden replied "it was pretty good." Then I asked "well what did you do today?" He said "Inguration stuff" (that's how he pronounced it). So I asked "well what did you think about all of it." His reply was "well did you hear the people laughing at the lady who read the poem?" I said "no" then he turned to me and said "the people were rude." So being the mom in me I said "PayBo sometimes people can be that way but as long as you act the way your suppose to others will follow." Then he says to me "mom did you see that guy who prayed I could hardly understand anything he said", I replied "at least you knew he was praying and who he was praying to."

It amazes me what kids think of, what they see. So we should all be good role models because when you think they aren't paying attention to details think again!

---Andi Green, Advertising Director

Monday, January 19, 2009

Big day coming

Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president tomorrow. I've heard 100,000 people crowded into D.C. Sunday for the big inauguration concert. More precisely, I heard it took about seven hours for the National Mall to fill up, and then about 30 seconds for 100,000 people to start leaving all at the same time once it was over. Crazy. Imagine what will happen when millions converge there ...
It's very cool local folks will be there to witness a great time in our history. I'd like to be there, too, but only in a floating bubble above the massive crowds.
I also wanted to plug Sports Editor Benny Rogers here. He wrote a column for our Tuesday edition about the inauguration. It's actually more of a good-bye to President Bush as it is a welcome to President Obama. But I'd urge you to read carefully what Benny wrote in regard to gracefully saying good-bye to the old president while welcoming the new president with respect -- even if you don't agree with the politics of one or the other.
Benny's column will run on Tuesday's editorial page, and we'll also have extensive coverage from locals who will be there as well as national coverage.
You'll be able to access the coverage on the Web as well at
-- Jayson Larson, editor


President Bush announced today he has (finally) commuted the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two border agents jailed for shooting a known drug dealer and coyote in the butt. All I have to say is, thank God he finally did the right thing. Our government owes those two men a huge apology. They were doing their job, not breaking the law.
Lauren Ricks, Staff Writer

Super Bowl prediction ... massive lack of interest

Yeah, yeah, I know it's interesting to see Kurt Warner -- the 37-year-old Superman -- try to take the Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals to an improbable Super Bowl victory next month.
And yeah, it would be interesting to see Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, goes for his second ring, as Warner will be doing.
But is anyone really really interested in seeing this Super Bowl? Come on, really?
Not really.
Maybe I'm just grouchy because I'm on Week 3 of the Larson Improvement Plan (which consists of 5:30 a.m. workouts and a reduced amount of chicken fried steak, chicken quesadillas and pizza (reduced = zero in this plan). But I just don't think I'll be able to get excited about this one. And I consider myself a pretty big sports fan.
Maybe it's because I don't have a dog (dog = Cowboys) in the fight. But I would have been a little more interested in seeing the Eagles and Steelers.
Oh, well. That's not going to happen. Guess I'll just eat my low fat cheese stick and water bottle and take in the first 20 minutes of the game before switching over to watch Survivorman re-runs.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why I love our town

My family and I were traveling to Tyler Saturday afternoon to try to get pet supplies to save the life of the family iguana, T.W. (stands for Tail Whip, ask my son why). As we headed up East Tyler, a friend of mine was walking home, probably heading from work.
"Honey, mind if I swing around pick this guy up before we get out of town? He's a friend. Super nice guy?"
She was fine with it, of course. So we swung the car around and headed back the other direction. By the time we reached the friend, another truck had already stopped and he was getting in. It took us all of a minute to turn around.
I told my wife, "How many towns can you try to offer a friend a ride and somebody else beats you to it before you can even turn around?"
Really, think about that. Athens isn't perfect. It's just more perfect than a lot of other places, including most big cities you'll ever step foot in.
I've been in other places, all of them relatively small and all of them pretty nice towns. But I'm glad I'm getting to raise my kids here.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LIVE BLOG: Signing off from the Chamber banquet

Good food, good time. This year's 65th Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet was packed, and the award winners, again, were top notch.
Thanks to all in Athens who made this event great. Special thanks to Mary Waddell, the Chamber director, and her staff for helping us stay in the know about what's going on at the Chamber.
Also, I'd be remiss not to thank Athens Country Club GM Cyndi Davis, who helped us get our laptop connected to the club's wireless Internet connection.
If you'd like to comment on the blog, or have ideas about how to make it better, contact me at This is the second event from which we've posted a live blog, and we're working to get better at it.
Good night!
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: And tonight's big winner is ...

He was described as part Superman and part Energizer Bunny.
Those were the remarks given by last year's winner of the Citizen of the Year award, Jess Laird, about this year's winner: Gary Chasey.
He's worked with Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Jess Laird, last year's winner, said he and his wife have spent countless hours and driven countless miles to represent children. He's also an integral part of the Labor of Love project.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Chairman's Award

Her second time on stage, this time as an award winner: Meshell Scott (spelled correctly this time). Presenter, award-winner and, Mitch West tells us, she decorated the room.
She's a talented lady.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Ambassador Business of the Year

Mechelle Scott of Texas Trust has just announced Kathy Means of Kathy's Boutique is second runner-up for Chamber Ambassador of the Year.
First runner-up is Reuben Austin, of Texas Trust.
And the big winner of the night in this category is Kim Hodges, who I believe it was said is a two-time winner.
When we talk about the folks out there in the community getting things done, these are the folks who are talked about.
The Business of the Year, a family owned operation, is Cole's Air Conditioning and Appliance. If you're keeping score at home, chalk up another standing ovation. If you know the Coles, you know why.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Hanging on by a thread

Dr. Fred Hayes, superintendent of the Athens Independent School District, has taken the stage and my battery is at 29 percent.
Just kidding. Hayes announced the Teacher of the Year award, one of the headline awards of the evening. Campus teachers of the year (forgive the spellings if I miss one here): Mary Ann Tyner, Athens High School; Kim Mattingly, Athens Middle School; Nicole Mason, Athens Intermediate; Linda Mizzani (Linda, sorry, I know I botched your last name), South Athens Elemenary; Dawn Andress, Bel Air Elementary; and Keisha Garrett, Athens Annex. In a very nice moment tonight, the teachers were given the first standing ovation. They more than deserved it.
From that pool, Hayes then announced the district's Elementary Teacher of the Year: Dawn Andress, a second-grade elementary teacher, who herself was given a standing ovation.
From there, the Secondary Teacher was named, and also given a standing "O": Kim Mattingly.
Congrats, ladies. Well done.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: West honored just before break

Clint Davis, the Chamber board chairman for 2009, just called outgoing chair Mitch West back onto the stage. Davis presented West with a plaque.
Davis -- and promise, this is the last on his comments -- closed his speech to the crowd by talking about communication between agencies in the community. It's a good message. So many of these community agencies and organizations are working toward the same goal, namely, to make Athens one of the best places in Texas. That will be one of his main goals during his term as chairman.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: All right, funny guy

Clint Davis gets the gold star for first funny line of the night. As he was talking very favorably about the annual Athens Christmas parade, he said the following:

"That's bad if you have a fire, because we have every firetruck within 50 miles in our parade."

Nice bit of laughter from the room.

-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: This and that before the big awards

-- 42 new members have been welcomed into the Chamber this year, according to Mitch West. Members have hosted 12 business after hours, and the monthly luncheons continue to grow.
-- Also, West talked a little about the Athens Leadership Institiute -- 21 members of the community who participate in various functions to learn more about Athens throughout the year.
-- Outgoing board members were honored. They are: Past Chairman Kevin Lilly, Charla Till, Dick Grymonprez, Joe Warren, David Stewart.
-- The new chairman, Clint Davis, was then introduced. Davis, chamber chair for 2009 and Henderson County's county attorney, said this by far is a "significant increase" in what we've had at past years at chamber banquets. He talked about the chamber's goal to not only promote business, but to promote the quality of life in the community.
"Obviously if you enhance the quality of life in your community," he said, " ... you enhance the quality of your business in the community."

-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Dinner is served!

Aside from the mix-master type line that fed into the buffet table, dinner was wonderful. And for the record, that long dinner line was actually a positive -- there's a lot of folks here tonight. Seems that at the last chamber banquet, or maybe the one before that, the partition in the banquet hall was up. It's wide open tonight, with tables stretching nearly to the back wall near the bar.
So what was on the menu? Stuffed Chicken (that's Chicken Kiev to some of you), baked fish, broccoli and a vat of cheese and dinner rolls, of course. The food was super tasty. And lucky me, I'm trying to cut back on some of the bad stuff and had no problems at all.
Think we're about to get going ...
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Schedule of events

The buzz is starting to pick up. The welcome address is being given right now by Mitch West, who is noted that this is the 65th year for the chamber banquet. I think that's kind of cool.
And he just said he'd like to invite us to the buffet. That's kind of cool, too.
Thanks was just given to Marilyyn Wright for providing the music. She's wonderful, if you've never heard her play the piano.
Other dignitaries are also being recognized right now, including County Attorney Clint Davis, District Attorney Scott McKee -- who were recently sworn into office -- and other elected representatives. New Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt is here, too. Yes, Mayor Randy Daniel is in the building. And so are the other good folks from the city council.
Obviously, there's too many to list here. I just can't type that fast.
Time to eat.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Dining hall is filling up at Chamber of Commerce Banquet

It's five til 7 p.m. and I think we're about to get underway. Eating, that is.
I just got done making a trip around the room, including a stop in the silent auction area for the first time. As always, there are some very nice items. "Nice" means "cool" for the fellas, including a full golf package here at the Country Club, Athens Hornet football and athletic gear and a huge gas grill. My daughter would love the little pink tractor, by the way, if anybody wants to commit money online for me to make a bid.
Let me use that opportunity to say I'd love it if you guys out there have questions or comments for me or any of my colleagues at the Review during this blog event (there's eight of us here from the paper). You can post comments by clicking the "comment" button below each blog entry.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Some pretty cool items at the banquet

Well, we're now officially ... official. No more laptop worries. Well, maybe except a battery life that's now at 72 percent.
By the way, there are some very cool auction items. I've posted a few pics here so you can see them from home (wish you were here).
By the way, I'll be posting pictures throughout the evening, including pictures of the winners.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

LIVE BLOG: Athens Chamber of Commece annual banquet

Hello from Athens Country Club! I'll be keeping a live blog tonight from the Athens Chamber of Commerce Banquet, where our top citizen, top business, top ambassador and others will be honored.
There's also a silent auction that will be going on for about another 45 minutes or so, and in the meantime, beautiful music by Marilyn Wright.
One little thing ... we're having some technical difficulties and I'm typing from ACC General Manger has been kind enough to lend me her laptop to post this while she sets up my wireless connection. Good folks over here at the country club.
Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shameless self-promotion for The HC magazine

I'm locked down tight in my office right now in Central Athens proofing stories for the third issue of our quarterly magazine, The HC. We're very proud of this product.
I'm excited about this issue because each one has been better, and I'm eager to see where this one goes. But also, we have some pretty interesting stories coming down the pipe. I'm currently reading an article regarding Brownsboro ISD's Internet radio station. How many schools that size do you know that have an Internet radio station? I saw Perry Eaton, who pretty much heads up the program, broadcasting the Eustace at Brownsboro varsity game last Friday night. Perry's a great guy and familiar with a lot of folks in Athens.
This edition we will also get our first peek into a local home as part of a "beautiful homes" type feature. The idea is, we want to give readers an inside look into some of the most beautiful homes in Athens and the area. I think this will be a popular feature.
The third issue of The HC magazine is set to publish at the end of this month. If you have story ideas for the magazine, you can e-mail me at
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Would you believe 51?

Athens Lady Hornet junior guard Alex Furr had a spectacular game Tuesday night at the AHS gym. She scored 51 points — yes, 51 — to lead the Lady Hornets to an 82-58 win over the Palestine Lady Panthers. She had 18 field goals -- 7 of which were three-pointers -- and was 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
I got to thinking about it this morning and that's the most points I've ever seen a player score in the 30-plus years I've been covering basketball. The previous most was 46 by Shalonda Enis(Celeste High School) against LaPoynor in the Region III-A championship game in Kilgore in 1993. Enis, of course, went on to start at TVCC.
Furr is no stranger to big scoring games, having scored 47 in a game against Rains earlier this season.
She could have easily had 60 last night. She left the game with 3:50 remaining.
It was a great show and I'm glad I had a front row seat to see it.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Name from the past

Received an e-mail yesterday from former TVCC head women's basketball coach Gary Ashlock. Still the all-time winningest Lady Cardinal coach with 281 wins, he is a professor at Central Florida Community College in Ocala, Fla., where he had a successful stint as head women's basketball coach before retiring from coach in the late 1990s.
He was my JV football coach my freshman year at Malakoff High School, where he, of course, had a long and successful stint as girls basketball coach.
It was good to hear from him.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Spurlock will be missed

Like everyone, I was saddened to hear of the death of TVCC professor Dr. Terry Spurlock over the weekend. He was a dedicated educator and a good friend to many.
Having been a student of his in the late 1970s, I remember his classes being fast-moving and informative. He understood his students were more than just a name on his class roll.
Condolences to his family. Hopefully they can find comfort in the fact he touched and influence many lives in his 35 years at the college.
He will truly be missed.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Familiar face on TV tonight

Just noticed where the St. John's women's basketball team will be playing on TV tonight (Tuesday) against Georgetown in Big East Conference game. So what, you ask?
Well, it's a chance to see a familiar face. Our very own Danny Hughes is in his first year as an assistant coach at St. John's.
Danny, of course, is a product of Cross Roads High School, where he was an all-state performer in the mid 1980s. He went on to star at TVCC and TCU before returning to Cross Roads to serve as athletic director/head boys basketball coach from 1992-2000. He then was Leon Spencer's assistant coach at TVCC for five seasons and Joe Curl's for three seasons at the University of Houston before heading for St. John's.
The game begins at 6 p.m. on CBSCS, which I believe is Channel 152 on DISH.
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crying? No, there's no loyalty in baseball

I came in to work this morning to hear the perplexing news: Rangers shortstop Michael Young has asked for a trade. Turns out the Rangers, wanting to move up prospect Elvis Andrus for next season, asked Young to move from short to third (which also shows you Hank Blalock's future here).
Remember when A-Rod came to Texas earlier this decade? He played shortstop, and being a team player -- which he is -- Young volunteered to move to second base. He wasn't the world's best, but he was an All-Star caliber second baseman.
So when A-Rod took our money and ran, Young moved back to short. We rewarded him with a monster contract, well deserved.
So the Rangers reward his loyalty, standing out at short in 110 degree weather watching balls land in the gaps or worse, by asking him to move again -- and this time not for a future Hall of Famer, but for a kid with no real big league experience. And let's be clear: Young isn't costing the Rangers five games a year playing bad defense. He's pretty solid.
Young should stand firm. I don't blame him for not wanting to be a part of this franchise anymore. It's getting hard to be a fan, too.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guess who's back?

Talked to Clyde Alexander tonight. Alexander, as you might remember, is a former Athens resident who served in the Texas House for 14 years, a time that included a fairly lengthy stint as chair of the Transportation Committee. This weekend he officially was offered and accepted the chief of staff position for State Rep. Joe Straus, who is expected to be elected speaker of the Texas House this week.
Anyhow, Alexander sounds ready to be back in politics. He's been in and around it for quite some time and apparently just couldn't get too far away. So if that's the case, he should have all he wants and more.
What's interesting about this to me is he's a Democrat, although some might say a moderate Democrat, while Joe Straus is a Republican. But the two are apparently good friends. Here's to hoping the two of them can heal some of the wounds left by Tom Craddick, who was a very effective politician who burned a lot of bridges.
Check out our online and print editions of the Tuesday Review for an interview with Alexander. I haven't seen any comments of his in print just yet, so maybe we'll be the first to let folks hear from our former state rep. and his new gig.
-- Jayson Larson, editor

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We've officially entered the twilight zone

Barack Obama will appear in a Spiderman Marvel Comic. Yes, you did read that right. The soon-to-be president and the anti-arachnophobic college photographer (I think that is the correct comic-book-hero-backstory) are friends from way back. According to an Associated Press article, Obama read Spiderman comics while he was growing. Now Marvel has decided to pay the president-elect back with his very own comic book cameo.

Hey, I read Archie comics as a child, does that mean I can hang out with Betty, Veronica and most importantly, Jughead? Probably not, after all I am just an Associate Editor at a community newspaper.

Now to the most important question — if Barack Obama is Spiderman's sidekick in ink, does that mean the red-tight wearing superhero will make a trip to Washington D.C. to save the economy? I hope the answer is yes, because then we (Americans) could have a classic theme song to sing each time a smarmy politician is taken down or the national deficit drops. Here's the jist of it: (I know you know the melody) "Spiderman, Spiderman come to save the economy; the market drops that's okay, it was saved in Spiderman's web; Wherever there's a market crash, you'll find Spiderman."

— Angela Weatherford, associate editor

Top workout songs

No, I didn't make a New Year's resolution, but I am trying to turn over a new leaf as far as losing weight. I've got plenty to lose.
I seem to really feed off the music on my iPod. Certain songs give me a lot of energy, others I use during a cool-down phase (I've included one of the fast tempo songs below in the player). There are 203 songs on my iPod, but believe it or not, I'm getting tired of rolling through the same songs.
If you've got ideas for good workout songs, that'd be great. But more than anything, I guess the message here is that when your workouts get kind of mundane, don't stop. Try adding songs or switching playlists. I find the new songs are kind of envigorating.
— Jayson Larson, editor

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oklahoma vs. Florida

The Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida Gators battle for the BCS championship Thursday night in a game with plenty of marquee value. While plenty of fans will complain that a sizzling Southern California or undefeated Utah should have been invited to the dance it Sooners—Gators has the makings of a thrilling match-up.
Still, one of my problems with the bowl set-up is that instead of watching battles between two teams hitting on all cylinders we see teams that have not played in a month. The Sooners and Gators revved their engines through the last few weeks of the regular season and their respective title games only to idle for a month.
I remember hearing NFL coaches complain that the two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl were detrimental to the game because it took teams out of the rhythm they had established throughout the year. When Texas played Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, both had been off for more than five weeks.
Years ago, the pollsters knew this and chose the national champion before the bowls. That's how Notre Dame piled up 5 titles despite a 40 year bowl embargo that ended in 1970.
If OU and Florida give us a great title game it will be a tribute to the teams and athletes on hand, not the flawed system.
Rich Flowers News Editor

Why won't he go away?

Our good old buddy, John McCain has decided to start a political action committee called "Country First." The foremost Republican in Name Only actually said the purpose is to promote "Republican causes and candidates and work to help the GOP redefine itself."
Mr. McCain, you have done plenty to redefine the Republican party and I ask you to leave us be. It is because of your unwillingness to confront your opponent's ineptitude that he will be inaugurated in a few weeks.
Just melt away from political life into the desert sunset of Arizona.
Lauren Ricks Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who's No. 1? We'll never really know

Just got through reading a blog on the Dallas Morning News Web site. There, a staffer pretty much said voters in college football wouldn't agree with University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's assertion that no team in the country could beat the Longhorns right now.
UT lost one game this season, to Texas Tech. Tech ended up with two losses.
Oklahoma, which is playing one-loss Florida in the BCS college championship game Thursday, only lost one game, too — to the University of Texas. Hmm.
I'm not going to rehash the same old argument about who beat who and who's cheating who and who don't even care anymore. But I am saying this: college football is super entertaining, but for the players, it's something akin to gambling.
Division I (or whatever they're calling it these days) college football is the only league that I've ever heard of where you can win all your games and not be crowned a champion. Utah finished 13-0 this year, probably won't finish ranked higher than third or fourth, below teams that will all have one loss.
This isn't a rant insisting Texas should be in the title game, because, as I said before, how do you pick who the best 12-1 or 11-1 team is?
As Jim Mora once infamously said (and now says in perpetuity on beer commercials): PLAYOFFS!
Please, for the love of Pete, institute a playoff system in college football before I die! That way, 13-0 Utah gets a shot at UT in a national semifinal. USC gets a shot at Florida or Oklahoma in another. Then, the two best teams in the tournament play for it all.
It's still shocking to me major college football doesn't do it this way. It's the one place where, when coaches tell their players to leave it all out on the field, their efforts may not necessarily matter.
—— Jayson Larson, editor

Late night worth it

My guess is there will be more than just a few of us operating on just a few hours sleep today -- if that much -- after the Fiesta Bowl last night. The game went down to the end with Texas pulling out a 24-21 win over Ohio State in dramatic fashion. If you're a Texas fan like me, you no doubt spent an hour or two psyched out of your mind after the game and sleep was the last thing you cared about. By the time I finished watching all the postgame coverage and press conferences on ESPN News, well it was close to midnight. In less than three hours it was time to get up and come to the office. No problem. Hook 'em Horns!!!
-- Benny Rogers, Sports Editor

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cold day in Athens

So the First State Bank time and temperature tele-lady says it's 39 degrees right now. Man, I'm a wuss. My guess would have been about -9. It's cold. But it's East Texas cold. I'm sure someone in Green Bay, Wisc., is out mowing in this weather right now.
How cold is it? I waved at an electric company employee driving by in my truck earlier today, and he just looked at me -- no nod or wave back, as is standard in these parts. But you can't blame the guy. His hands were in his pockets, and who knows how long he'd been outside.
I'd keep my hands in my pocket, too.
-- Jayson Larson, editor